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Brussels, 30 March 2009
In a video posted on her website this morning, Viviane Reding, the European Union's Commissioner for Information Society and Media, asked the information and communication technologies (ICT) industry for intensified efforts for tackling climate change. She warned that the measures in place so far to meet the EU's objective of cutting energy use by 20% by 2020 will only improve energy efficiency by 13 percent". Therefore, better use should be made of information and communication technologies (ICT) to reduce faster the carbon footprint of households in Europe.
"We clearly need a 'New Green Deal for Europe', in particular in view of the present economic downturn," said Reding in her video message. "Putting the emphasis on energy-saving technology could give a very welcome boost to Europe's economy. After all, Europe's economy is leading in ICT, is leading in green technologies."
The EU's Commissioner in charge of ICT called on the European ICT sector, which accounts of 2% of carbon emissions, to become the engine in the drive against carbon emissions, by setting trends that can be followed in the wider economy to affect the other 98% of emissions. "Personally, I would recommend the ICT sector to lead the way for the rest of the economy by reducing its own carbon footprint by 20 percent as early as 2015", said Reding. "I see from the response of European ICT companies to the Commission's ongoing work that Europe is already well ahead in using ICT to green the economy, with some ICT companies already voluntarily working to reduce CO2 emission by 50 to 80 percent."
Commissioner Reding cited buildings and transport as other sectors where ICT-enabled energy efficiency could have an impact. Recent studies suggest that better use of ICT could reduce energy consumption of buildings in the EU by up to 17% and to reduce carbon emissions in transport logistics by up to 27%.
The European Commission, which adopted a policy document on ICT for energy efficiency earlier this month (IP/09/393), today launched an online public consultation in all 27 EU Member States to gather ideas and suggestions for a new policy instrument the Commission could adopt in the autumn to stimulate the use of ICT for enhancing energy efficiency.
On 10 January 2007, the Commission adopted an energy and climate change package, endorsed by the European Parliament and by EU leaders at the March 2007 European Council, targeting a 20% increase in the use of renewable energy and a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2020 (IP/07/29). In December 2008, the EU reiterated its commitment to meeting these targets and stressed the urgency of improving energy efficiency (IP/08/1998).
The video message of Commissioner Reding is available at:
For more information on the public consultation opened by the Commission today, see: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/sustainable_growth/energy_efficiency/index_en.htm